100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know


Some time ago, I posted “The 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know” by American Heritage Dictionary. It received lots of traffic. Then I created an online quiz to test yourself. That was great too — hundreds of quiz takers so far.

But American Heritage has also published their “100 Words Every Middle School Graduate Should Know” and I found it just as interesting. So, I’ve published the list also with each word hyper-linked to its definition on the American Heritage site. I’ve got another quiz too. You can test your knowledge of these words by clicking the link below the list.

Please understand that these lists are purely subjective and somewhat arbitrary. I have no idea how they went about nominating and including the words they did. Some, particularly on the high school list, seem unnecessarily obscure and rare. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know some or even many of them. It doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just a fun way to see what we know.

Take the quiz and see how well you do!

red arrowQuiz 100 Words *****

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About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Jess

    The malleable link sends you to luminous

  2. carter

    Where are the definitions of the words?

  3. Stickpower

    this is so helpful! thanks, peeps!

  4. Nicolas Hatem
    Nicolas Hatem08-03-2014

    Hello everyone,
    I’m going to grade 5. My mom refer this website to me in the end of school year. So I do one spelling word a day and I used it in a sentence. By Christmas I’will be done. Thank you Brian

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko08-05-2014

      You’re welcome Nicolas. It’s great to have you here.

  5. CJ

    I took the quiz and banish and disdain were incorrectly counted wrong. I double checked your dictionary to be sure there was no obscure meaning I was missing, but the definitions matched the ones I selected that were counted wrong. I am an ELA teacher with over twenty years of experience and I was pretty sure those were right! Just wanted to let you know so you could check it out. I am going to link to it from my school page and I didn’t want to hear any whining.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko02-22-2014

      I checked and the quiz is set up correctly. This isn’t the first complaint like this, though. There must be some issue with Polldaddy, the service I use for the quizzes. Did you mark the correct answer, but the site record it as a different answer? That’s what I’ve heard before.

      I’ll talk to them about this occasional inconsistency.

  6. joseph congo
    joseph congo12-09-2013

    i likes it because it teach people words. and it is my first to use it

  7. Jamie

    These words are in conjunction with this book. Great resource for middle school teachers. I teach 8th grade LA, and we use it for our Word of the Day.

  8. Carole Matthews
    Carole Matthews01-02-2013

    I got 98%, but it graded it incorrectly. I checked back on my answers. Don’t know if I got something marked correct, that was really wrong — didn’t check everything. Would be interesting to see how my fourth and fifth graders score.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko01-02-2013

      I’ll double check your score, Carole, if you put your name on it. If not, I’ll just check the answers generally. I’ve not heard of any mistakes prior to now, but it’s certainly possible.

      I’d love to hear how your 4th and 5th graders do!

  9. CJ

    99% — missed “obscure,” because I wasn’t sure if you meant the verb or the adjective. But I knew all the words! ­čśÇ

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko12-21-2012

      Outstanding, CJ! You are smarter than a middle schooler.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko12-21-2012

      I changed one answer on the “obscure” question, CJ. I understand how it confused you. One extra credit point awarded. ­čÖé

  10. Lisa Strader
    Lisa Strader12-21-2012

    All right, 100%! The only one that really threw me for a loop was “egregious,” which I had never heard before. However, I thought it might be somehow related to “gregarious,” and figured it out from there. Turns out it’s not related except by a mutual Latin root for “flock.” Who knew?

  11. JJ

    I got a 90%. I knew most of the words, and that is a good thing, as I am in high school.

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